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Festivals Land Record Catch From Cannes

June 12

This year’s Auckland and Wellington Film Festivals will present New Zealand premiere screenings of a record six films selected for competition at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, it was announced today.

“Everyone agreed that this year’s Cannes competition was the strongest in years,” said Festival programmer Sandra Reid today. “Our success in landing this outstanding selection reflects the value of being on the spot at the Cannes Festival. And of course it also reflects the high reputation of the Auckland and Wellington events.” Ms Reid, a New Zealander based in Paris, covers European festivals for the New Zealand festivals and travels back to New Zealand every year to coordinate visits to the festivals by overseas guests.

Cannes titles which will feature in New Zealand include The Man Without a Past, a deadpan comedy about a man who has lost his memory from the Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki. The film was popular winner of the Grand Prix and Best Actress Awards. The controversial Divine Intervention, a black comedy about life amidst the Israeli/Palestinian war zone, directed by Palestinian Elia Sulieman, was the winner of the Jury Prize and the International Critics Prize. The Son, directed by Belgium’s Dardenne Brothers is a modern story of forgiveness and redemption, referring implicitly to the example of Christ. It won actor Olivier Gourmet the Best Actor Award.

Also from the Cannes competition are The Russian Ark, a dazzling tour of St Petersburg’s Hemitage accomplished in a single 90-minute tracking shot, and the British 80s club-scene tribute24 Hour Party People which both Festivals will offer as an alternative to election night coverage on July 27.

“This is a major haul by any reckoning,” said Festival director Bill Gosden. “Ironically these titles will be seen alongside several of the winners from last year’s Cannes Film Festival which have taken much longer to reach New Zealand screens.” These include Isabelle Huppert’s startling Best Actress award-winner The Piano Teacher in which she plays a brilliant but repressed and masochistic musician.

Full programme announcements will be made in Auckland on June 18 and in Wellington on June 20. Confirmed title information is already available from the Festivals websites at auckland.nzff.co.nz and wellington.nzff.co.nz

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